he said, A certain man had two sons: 12And
the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of
goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.
many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his
journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous
when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he
began to be in want. 15And
he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him
into his fields to feed swine. 16And
he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did
eat: and no man gave unto him. 17And
when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's
have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18I
will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have
sinned against heaven, and before thee, 19And
am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired
he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off,
his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck,
and kissed him. 21And
the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy
sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. 22But
the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it
on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: 23And
bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:
this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And
they began to be merry. - The Holy Bible, King James Version
Today, in the United States, Canada and
Mexico we celebrate "Father's Day" and many more countries are
celebrating today as well. Most countries celebrate "Father's
Day" in June, but some celebrate in different months of the year.
The message of "Father's Day" is one of respect and
recognition for the role that fathers play in our lives. Fathers
make a significant impact on the lives of their children, either
positively or negatively, and therefore on the world.
In a Jet Magazine article, Ron Kirk, the U.S.
trade representative, told Jet that Obama has had "a profound and
inspirational effect on African American men. He has challenged our
community to live up to our responsibility to take care of our children
and play an active role in their lives. He has challenged us . . . to
provide for our families and, most importantly, to be the best fathers
we can be." I personally believe that President Obama is
having an inspirational effect on all fathers, of all races. And,
I believe this inspirational effect goes beyond the borders of the
United States. It is wonderful to see the images of this President
with his children and it would be wonderful if all fathers were paying
attention, but for some the message is lost on them. And for some,
they just don't fully understand their role as a father because their
experience was with an absent father, due to death, abandonment or
separation by imprisonment.
The passages from the Book of Luke above give
us the parable of the "prodigal son." This parable is
two-fold; it is teaching the relationship we have to G-d in our lives,
and it is a model for fathers. It is teaching us that no matter
what may separate us, there is a bond between father and child that
transcends our mistakes and our disagreements. It is also teaching
us that for this father and child relationship to be a strong bond, the
father must be spiritual; forgiving and understanding. In this
parable the father has great affection for his son, even though the son
had left him and rejected the life he had provided for him. And
though most of us have not rejected our fathers, how many of us can say
we have not been distracted from our relationship with G-d? ... and this
lack of attentiveness or lack of worship, is a form of rejection.
Yet, as with the prodigal son, the moment we consciously recognize G-d
... G-d responds to us in the affirmative.
Matthew 6:31-33 "Therefore
take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or,
Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things to
the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have
need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God,
and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto
you." - The Holy Bible, King James Version
As we can note from the ancient scripture taken
from Matthew, the role of father is to imitate G-d; to provide, to meet
our needs. Most of us can remember as children, that we did indeed
see our fathers in this way. We loved and trusted our fathers to
provide for us and to love us ... even when we made mistakes. I
believe that an enlightened father will teach their child that G-d
provides and loves us without judgment. And the best way a father
can teach this, is by demonstrating it through his own actions.
When we teach that G-d provides based on the concepts of reward and
punishment, we create doubt and separation, and this doubt and
separation, for a child, can be transferred to their relationship with
their father. In Truth, nothing we do can ever separate us from
G-d ... and this should be true of our fathers as well.
When we look at the statements from Matthew
6:31-33 above, we can note that Jesus referred disparagingly to
Gentiles. After all, this was the ancient idea of G-d.
Jesus' god in these passages from Matthew was the god of the Jews, not
the god of the Gentiles. Jesus' spiritual evolution had not
transcended the culture at this point. In what is referred to as
the "Lord's Prayer" which can be found in previous chapters of
Matthew, the Master Mind Jesus uses the term, "Our Father."
But, even He had not embodied this revelation of Truth at this point to
see it as inclusive of Gentiles. It is humorous, and telling, that
in the "New International Version of the Bible" and other
versions, this reference to "Gentiles" is replaced with the
word "pagans" or "unbelievers" ... perhaps in an
attempt to play down the fact that Jesus was a Jew with a humanly
cultural bias. But, that wasn't what is important in these words.
What is important is to recognize that Jesus did transcend the culture,
and gained the awareness of the "One Father" of all.
As we understand that there is
One Father, One Spirit, working through the consciousness of each
person, we know that each person who has taken on the role of father,
has the potential to effect a positive influence on his children and his
children's children by looking to G-d, Infinite Spirit, for guidance.
As each father looks to G-d for wisdom and understanding, each becomes
capable of teaching their children to do the same. And every
father has the capacity for love, affection, understanding and
forgiveness that was evidenced in the parable of the prodigal son,
"for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these
SO IT IS!
Dr. Henry Lee Bates
Visit Rev. Bates BLOG: Living
the Science of Mind